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Couple Loses Over 380 Pounds after Weight Loss Surgery

Joliet, IL (January 4, 2010) — After getting married in 1999 Oswego residents Michael and Amelia Kleymann had steadily gained a lot of weight together. Since both of them had unhealthy habits, they figured their chances of long-term success were better if they did weight loss surgery together. Fortunately, the Kleymanns’ health has greatly improved since they collectively have lost over 380 pounds after their laparoscopic gastric bypass weight loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital in the fall of 2009.

weight-loss-couple-380At over 450 pounds, Michael suffered from joint issues and sleep apnea prior to his surgery. Fortunately since then his joint pain has been eliminated. “I realized that if I didn’t have the surgery, I wasn’t going to be able to walk,” said 41 year-old Michael who has lost 230 pounds. “And it made sense to have my surgery at the same time as my wife, so we could fully support one another during our weight loss.”

Photo: Oswego residents Amelia Kleymann, who lost 158 pounds, and Michael Kleymann, who lost 230 pounds, both 1 year after their weight loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital—the area’s only  Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence.

Prior to her surgery, Amelia was always extremely tired and had Type 1 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, GERD, frequent infections, stress incontinence, edema, and general pain from carrying so much weight. “At my highest I weighed 320 pounds and was at a size that exercise was simply too difficult for me,” said 33-year old Amelia Kleymann, who has lost 158 pounds. “Emotionally my weight also made me very unhappy that I literally dreaded getting up every morning.” Now post surgery, her high cholesterol, high blood pressure, GERD, frequent infections, stress incontinence, and leg pain issues have all ceased to exist.

Not only do they feel wonderful physically, the couple can now enjoy their lives more fully. “Physically, I do things now that a year ago I wouldn't have considered doing at all - like spending a day walking downtown taking pictures of Chicago. It's almost like I’ve been set free from a prison that my body was keeping me in,” said Michael. And for Amelia life is much happier. “My outlook on life has become more positive and I've stopped letting my weight (or even my weight-loss) define who I am. Emotionally I still feel a bit ruled by food, but at least now I'm in control of food, whereas before food used to completely control me,” says Amelia.  

After researching bariatric weight loss surgery programs, the Kleymann’s were motivated after attending the first educational seminar where Dr. Joyce explained how difficult it was for their bodies to lose weight, since their metabolism was so out of sync due to a lifetime of dieting and large weight gain. Seminars are held every Wednesday at 6 p.m. on the Silver Cross Campus in Joliet. 

Their surgeon was Dr. Christopher Joyce with Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery (BMI Surgery) at Silver Cross Hospital.  Together with his partner, Dr. Brian Lahmann, they have performed over 2,000 surgeries including laparoscopic gastric bypass laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and Lap-Band and REALIZE gastric band systems. BMI Surgery is a Bariatric Center of Excellence as well as a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery. They are dedicated to helping patients win their personal battles with obesity and enjoy happier and healthier lives.

Patients benefit from a multidisciplinary approach, with the help of many different departments at Silver Cross. "Patients see an exercise physiologist, dietitian, cardiologist, psychologist, pulmonologist, and a bariatric nurse to get them ready for surgery," says Christopher Joyce, M.D., medical director with BMI Surgery. "We screen our patients very carefully to ensure their success and safety." 

"I couldn't have found a better program," says Amelia. “Overall my experience with BMI Surgery and Silver Cross Hospital was amazing! I felt Dr. Joyce and the hospital’s staff were extremely focused on my post-surgical care and they were truly a key in my recovery.”

But once the surgery is over, the work has just begun for the patient. They achieve their weight loss goals by adhering to a post-operative lifestyle, which includes changed eating habits and regular exercise. Amelia says "Make sure you realize that surgery is not a magic bullet. You have to commit physically, mentally and emotionally to changing your bad habits and forming new, healthy ones. It's a major life change, and it requires a ton of work." 

The American Association of Bariatric Surgery defines the morbidly obese as those with a body mass of 40 or above, or, for a normal height woman, being more than 100 pounds overweight. Those who are morbidly obese are at a higher risk of mortality and such extreme obesity puts people at risk for numerous life threatening disease, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

“Both Amelia and Michael are wonderful examples of how life-changing bariatric surgery can be. Their inspiring support for each other enabled them to adhere to the program and make healthier life choices,” says Dr. Joyce.

To find out more about the bariatric surgery program at Silver Cross Hospital, attend a free informational session on both traditional and laparoscopic surgery on any Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. in the Specialty Care Pavilion at the hospital, 1300 Copperfield Ave, in Joliet.  To attend, visit www.bmisurgery.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895.  Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for the last six consecutive years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,500 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 304-bed acute care hospital and 10 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Construction has begun to build a state-of-the-art replacement hospital opening in 2012 in New Lenox.  To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

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